Mom says fight to keep daughter’s hair curly kept her off cheer team

(WRIC/ABC/KTRK) — A Texas mother says her daughter’s curly hair kept her from staying on an elite cheerleading team.

Jenny Fallaw told 8News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston that she was surprised when she saw the requirement that her daughter, 11-year-old Maykala, was to straighten her hair for competition after joining the Woodlands Elite Cheer center.

“I felt like it might make my daughter feel like her hair is not good enough because she’s not like other girls,” Fallaw told KTRK-TV.

Fallaw said she met with officials from the cheer center to explain why she didn’t want her daughter to wear the hairstyle required for competition.

“It would destroy her hair, so I wanted to explain to them my reasoning,” Fallaw said.

Calls to Fallaw for further comment were not immediately returned.

Kevin Tonner, All-Star Director for the center, said hair wasn’t the main issue and that Fallaw’s argumentative attitude and refusal to consider compromise was why they asked her and her daughter to leave.

“It’s not accurate, the team has a uniform and the team has a hairstyle … to do a straight pony-tail when you compete,” Tonner told ABC News. “My wife is a hairstylist. We showed her how to straighten her hair,” without damaging it, he said.

Tonner said officials from the center were unhappy with Fallaw’s demeanor. They also said she wasn’t willing to compromise or work with them in finding a solution.

“Long story short, it got heated, we respectfully asked her leave,” Tonner told ABC News.

Tonner said the reason make-up and hair is uniform is to try and win as many points as possible in a cheerleading event. He said Makayla would have been required to straighten her hair only during competition and not during practices.

“It seems so little or small to anyone else, [but] uniformity on that is half the battle,” he said.

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